I have lived a few years, been thru a few divorces and had a lot of counseling (some say “Not enough!”). Through it all, I have learned a few things about THE BUSINESS OF FORGIVENESS which I will now share witlh you in modified “bullet point” format.
- WHAT FORGIVENESS MEANS – No matter what the offender did to you, you choose to consider their debt to you PAID IN FULL. THE WRONG DOER OWES YOU NOTHING … not even an explanation for what they did!
- ONLY TAKES ONE TO FORGIVE – The participation of the person that offended you is NOT REQUIRED! You cannot be held hostage by someone refusing to participate with you in the forgiving.
- TAKES PERSONAL STRENGTH TO FORGIVE – It is not for the weak willed to forgive someone who has hurt or hated you. It is something you do for yourself and you will be a BETTER PERSON for doing it!
- IT’S HARD TO FORGIVE WHEN YOU ARE STILL BEING ATTACKED – It’s tough to do but not impossible. Don’t let someone’s ongoing bad treatment of you keep you from freeing yourself by forgiving them.
- FORGIVE BUT DON’T FORGET – Friends and family mean well when they advise to “forgive and forget” but actually you must REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED so that you don’t repeat it. We are wired to remember things so to try to forget is probably not possible anyway.
- WHERE TO KEEP WHAT YOU REMEMBER – You need to control your memory of the offense done to you that you. I like to visualize putting the whole hot mess in a box, affixing the lid to it and putting it on a shelf out in my garage. Some people will say that they have “put it on the back burner”. Whatever … do what you must do to control the bad memories of your offender.
- RECOGNIZE THAT YOU WILL GET INTO THAT BOX FROM TIME TO TIME – It’s normal to periodically get the box and go thru it, even 10 or 20 years after the horrible event … but as soon as you can get the lid back on and the box back on it’s garage shelf!
A cow burps up what it has taken in and chews on it periodically … it’s called “chewing the cud.” Even though you try not to, in a way you will do the same and revisit the bad memories of past wrongs done to you … even if you have already forgiven the one that hurt you. Just remember to be like the cow, swallow it back down quickly after chewing on it a bit… and you will be more content in the pasture of life.